2019 Fringe Festival Review: Ambient Orchestra Presents Fripp/Eno, Laraaji & Satie: An Ambient Primer

Who: Ambient Orchestra
Where: Elder Hall at RCC Fringe, University of Adelaide
When: 15th of March

Ambient Orchestra debuted this year at the RCC with students from the Elder Conservatorium of Music playing alongside the guest performers. Conductor and artistic director Evan Ziporyn opened the performance with some food for thought on the role of an orchestra in contemporary music. Ziporyn offered an argument for its relevance in taking on ambitious pieces of recorded music that are rarely performed live and an awareness of contemporary listening habits. This founding ethos stayed on top of my mind as the orchestra performed their ‘primer’ to ambient music.

They began with a snippet of Satie’s furnishing music, then performed a section of Laaraji (himself performing this Sunday at the RCC) before concluding with ‘Side A’ of Evening Star, a Robert Fripp and Brian Eno collaborative album. Laaraji previously collaborated with Eno on Ambient 3′; it, Evening Star and ambient music in general are preceded conceptually by furnishing music as music designed to be played in the background, but still be interesting enough to listen to on its own merits. The whole ensemble was a Spotify playlist of sorts and worked like one, introducing a lot of history and a body of work to something I had dropped into the middle of out of interest.

It was rare to have an opportunity to sit and completely focus on a piece of ambient music. At times it was hard to sustain attention but, true to form it was hard to completely zone out either.

3/5 stars
– Tin Do

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